5 factors that affect CNC machining cost

5 factors that affect CNC machining cost

As everyone knows, the cost of a CNC machining project is mainly determined by several factors. you probably think of material, or production volume.

If you are a purchaser or a mechanical designer/ engineer, it’s really important to understand those factors and the extent to which they affect cost. Today, let’s see those factors that drive the cost of CNC machining and optimise your project to get the most out of it.

Main factors that affect CNC machining cost

There are 5 factors that affect CNC machining cost, which we, as a supplier and a factory, draw conclusions based on customers’ projects. Design and geometry, production volume, finishing operations, equipment, and material.

Design & Geometry

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Why is design & geometry the first factor?

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We discussed with thousands of designers and found out that part design and geometry significantly affect the cost of CNC machining. Very complex parts may require more advanced machinery, and also require more machining time, more resources, multiple passes and setups, and strict inspection. All these influence the cost of parts. So the more complex a part is, the more expensive it will be.

There are some design features that affect the cost of CNC machining cost. Thin walls, deep cavities, sharp internal corners, non-standard hole sizes, fillets and chamfers.

A few of the factors mentioned above may be easy for you to understand, however, how fillets and chamfers increase machining costs?

It would be time-consuming and expensive to set up the tools

In CNC machining, time is money. If your designs with chamfers, we have to use a tool that is ground to the correct angle, such as a countersink, chamfer tool or a spot drill. For interior chamfers, we use a spot drill or countersink tool; For exterior chamfers, we usually use a chamfer tool. However, cutters must blend the radius into the part’s top and side faces, so that there are no errors and no steps remaining.the process of setting up these tools can be quite time-consuming and expensive.

Hence, before adding an extra fillet or chamfer, please reconsider if it is necessary for the part’s function and worth the extra costs.

Production volume

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We’d love to offer you a better price, if you need high volume production. This proportional reduction in cost is a result of the elimination of repeated set-up cost. The cost per unit for hundreds/thousands of identical parts reduces significantly as the number of parts increases.

Therefore, the cost per part is proportional to the number of parts being manufactured. If you need a production volume of 1000, it is approximately 80% less than cost of a standalone unit.

Finishing operations

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CNC machining produces parts that are usually as-machined. However, if you want more surface finishing, such as powder coating, heat treatment, painting, anodizing or laser carving to improve their properties, functionality, and aesthetics. The cost of parts will definitely increase accordingly.



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This is a factor you may not realized. The more expensive it is to purchase, operate, and maintain a machine, the more expensive parts manufactured with the machine will be. You can have many choices when pick up a suitable process, such as milling, drilling, turning, grinding, boring, etc.

How to choose the tooling for CNC Machining is also a factor affect the cost of your parts. This factor may be more for our suppliers to consider. cemented carbide tools, that are harder, more heat resistant, and able to withstand extreme speeds, cost over two times more than tool steel tools.

Why CNC Milling is more expensive than Turning?

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CNC Milling typically is expensive than lathes as they are harder to set up, handle, and are capable of more complex operations. CNC milling is generally more expensive than any other operation.

The more axes a milling machine has, the more expensive it could be. Modo Rapid has 3 axes and 5 axes. Because 5-axis machines can manufacture very complex geometries more accurately and faster, they are usually more expensive.

As designers and purchaser, you may ignore the cost of set-up. It means the costs incurred in preparation for the actual machining. The 3D model , which is the first step of CNC machined part, is designed by design experts, by CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. In CNC machining, creating a 3D model makes up a significant portion of the set-up costs.
Another factor that’s very important is probably something that you think about a lot as a designer.


CNC machining materials

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The first and foremost of this is the cost of material itself. Price of material determined by their desirable properties, availability, and overall production costs.
In addition, the machinability of material is also a key factor that affect the cost of your prototypes/parts. Generally, metals are usually more expensive than other materials. The processing of titanium alloy is more difficult than other metals, and the price of titanium raw materials is also the highest, compared to other metals such as stainless steel, brass, copper, aluminum,etc.

In CNC machining services, time is surely money. Materials with low machinability takes us more time and effort to machine, which will also consume more resources like electricity, and cutting tools, and even cutting fluids.

More information about material please check CNC metal & CNC plastic.

If you have any other special requirements, we’d love to find solutions for any of your custom needs. Contact us today for a free quote to get your next project started.

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